The Metacognitive-Map is a “brain-friendly” way of writing that looks like the branching of a tree and its leaves. Its pattern and shape are dictated by the pattern and shape of the actual neural network of the memory you are building as you analyze and understand information. It is very important to write because writing reinforces the changes of the brain synapses at a microscopic level: as you think (step 2) you create changes in your brain; as you write down in the Metacognitive-Map brain friendly format, you reinforce and strengthen those connections. You literally grow your brain at will! It is interesting to note that just by looking at a Metacognitive-Map you stimulate your brain to process information from detail to big picture and from big picture to detail, which is vital to building strong memory. This only happens when both sides of the brain work together at the same time.There is so much happening in your brain as you create a Metacognitive-Map that even reading about it can seem overwhelming, but it is truly fascinating!
As you use the tool of Metacognitive-Mapping, the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, temporal lobe and occipital lobe all work together to integrate and apply the information. More neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, nor epinephrine and acetylcholine, glutamate) are released from the brainstem traveling up through the limbic system (in the middle of the brain) into the cortex where the memory trees (or neurons) are found. The outer front part of the frontal lobe (otherwise known as the prefrontal lobe or PFC) becomes very active keeping the information active in the neurons or “in mind” as it monitors and manipulates the contents of your short-term memory. The PFC works with other areas in the frontal lobe as well as the other lobes of the brain to make decisions, shift between the different bits of information, analyze and so on. And, of course, a positive attitude ensures that genes are switched on for protein synthesis and that good memories can be formed.
Because of the science behind them, Metacognitive-Maps work for anyone and everyone because they go much further than summarizing, note taking or brainstorming. They allow you to extract, store and later recall 100% of the information you need for exams, presentations and the application of skills. When the two sides of your brain work together simultaneously, you reach an important and deep environment of learning. The hemispheres of your brain do not work together, however, when you simply read linear script. English is not the only language to embrace a linear script or straight lines in written form. Linear script can be from left to right, right to left or even up and down in some languages. However, reading from the center outwards is the big picture to detail way of reading which is your right hemisphere’s way of processing. Your eyes will also reading from the outer branches inward towards the center, moving from detail to big picture which is your left hemisphere’s ways of processing. So, this act of creating a Metacognitive-Map stimulates the corpus callosum to perform its natural function which is to get both sides of the brain working together to integrate information across the hemispheres of the brain. That is why the Metacog is almost literally the “tool” that switches on the brain.